Plaintiff status in Texas premises liability law

December 22, 2009

In Texas, as in most states, the duty of care a landowner owes to a person on their property depends on that person’s status. Your status is the circumstances under which you entered the premises, and this status can affect your ability to bring a successful premises liability claim.

In terms of their relationship to the landowner, a person is placed into one of three categories: invitee, licensee or trespasser. The amount of care the landowner owes you depends on how you are categorized.

Invitee: An invitee is someone who entered the premises with the owner’s knowledge and for the mutual benefit of both parties (a commercial or business purpose). An example of an invitee is a customer in a store.

Invitees are owed the most stringent duty of care. A landowner must protect an invitee from both the dangerous conditions of which the owner is aware as well as the dangers which the owner should have been aware of after reasonable inspection.

Licensee: A licensee is someone who entered the premises for their own benefit, pleasure or convenience with the owner’s permission. An example of a licensee is a dinner guest.

A landowner is charged with the duty of warning the licensee against dangerous conditions of which the owner is aware.

Trespasser: A trespasser is someone who entered the premises without a lawful right or permission to do so. An example of a trespasser is a vandal.

Typically, a landowner owes only a minimal duty of care to a trespasser, which is the duty not to injure them willfully or intentionally. There are limited exceptions to the general no duty of care rule related to artificial conditions that are highly dangerous to children.

If you have been injured on someone else’s property, contact the Texas personal injury lawyers of Fears | Nachawati today for free legal advice. To speak with one of our experienced Texas personal injury attorneys, email us or phone us toll free at 1.866.705.7584.

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